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With affection and from the heart

· Pope Francis receives forty little girls with Rett syndome, welcoming them with open arms ·

Pope Francis welcomed with a warm embrace 40 little girls who suffer from Rett syndrome. He received them “with affection and from the heart” together with their families, on Wednesday 27 November, in the Paul vi Hall, just before the General Audience. The meeting, which lasted 25 minutes, culminated with the prayer of the Hail Mary and with the Apostolic Blessing. The Pope gave each little girl a kiss on the cheek and he personally encouraged all of the parents and family members, one by one.  “Rett syndrome is a particularly violent and rare genetic disease that generally appears in little baby girls around the age of two,” explained Lucia Dovigo, President of the Italian association that unites families that have a daughter with this serious disease. “Today,” she said, “we have seen in the Pope a father who is present, who is truly close to us and to our daughters, who understands us and has received us into his home with open arms. His loving gesture strengthens us to continue forward in life’s struggles”. The families also hope that their meeting with the Pope will enable their appeal for concrete and united assistance to support “the burden of such a serious and devastating disease” reach the relevant institutions. Ines Bianchi, who came from Rimini with her husband and daughter Alice, added that the parents asked the Pontiff to pray for them so that “they might always have the energy and faith to stand beside their little girls who need everything simply in order to live”.

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St. Peter’s Square

Aug. 24, 2019

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